Baseball and Not Baseball

What I Learned This Week

Putting Academics First in the Planning Process

NOT BASEBALL

I’m new to the Higher Learning Commission conference. So, I’m picking sessions based solely on my interest. We have a VP, 2 other administrators and 3 other faculty here with well defined roles in administration, or shared governance who can hit sessions about how to do accreditation.

Today has a 1/1000 chance to be shortened if I win the Hamilton lottery at 10:30 for the matinee at 2.

The handout and materials for this session are available in the conference app.

They had a top-down process and wanted to include faculty earlier in the process. The new process helps even challenging faculty according to the challenging faculty.  It is a one page plan as everyone is responsible to read a one page plan. The details do not go to upper level (deans, board). It’s assumed lower levels are putting what they need- consistent with the plan into spreadsheets and the like.

HFC isn’t totally top-down right now so I’m not sure we can learn a lot.The maintenance and growth category would save a lot of stress about whether say new faculty, or new furniture go into plans, or not. Maybe add something like this to the next plan.

Remind

Remind is a messaging and chat service that is used by teachers to communicate with students. I am considering using it. The service allows texting and acts as an intermediary to hide phone numbers from the parties involved.

The main problem is would solve is that when I make blog posts students in courses (other than Math 110 where I force it into the landing page of MyMathLab) do not see the message unless they actively go to the website. Students can subscribe to the blog, but this is a rough tool. They get announcements for all classes, not just their classes.

My thoughts on how to use this, at first, would be to alert students when blog posts with daily details are released. A search using Google did not turn up a way to automatically link WordPress publishing with Remind messaging. However, you can create time release messages. So, with a little more work I could have students get pushed a message when something posts to their class from the blog. I could also, preprogram assignment due dates and push a link PDF of the assignment.

I might consider the chat feature to allow students to ask questions. Students already have other channels through email, phone, and face-to-face visits. I would have to consider whether this would give more convenience to students so they would be more likely to use it and whether I could give realistic response times to the student questions.

I may add a link to a post in Math 131 and see how it goes.

Setting Up a GroupWise Rule

Trott’s Response

Trott is playing ball with the president. I expect this is in hopes of getting the GOP agenda passed. I hope this turns out OK for all our sakes. This is a dangerous game given Trump’s statements about the press, and the judiciary and Bannon’s seeming influence towards white nationalist policy.

trott-response

 

 

Email to Representative Trott RE:Immigration

I previously sent you a letter with a more moderate tone via USPS, but I’m inspired to write by  a cowardly act by Mr. Trump to ban refugees from Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.

The proximate cause of my writing is a friend who retweeted names from the St.Louis turned away in 1939 from the US. Many of the the names on the manifest of that ship were later killed in Auschwitz. The United States was wrong then and it is wrong now.

While immigration is largely the purview of the executive branch I hope I can have your reassurance that you will do all you can to change this decision. As a resident of the Detroit area who works in Dearborn, the Muslims I know are hard-working people seeking the best for their families like all Americans and American immigrants and indeed almost everyone in the world.

I hope the United States can continue to be an inspiration to the world and not a nation of cowards. I hope 80 years from now someone does not weep for the Syrians we are turning away as much as I weeped tonight for the Jews we turned away in 1939.

Feel free to respond. Be aware I will likely share the response on social media. And for God’s sake have some empathy.

Letters to Stabenow and Peters

Note: I emailed these because these are allies and I wanted to make it easier on their staff than on Trump’s or Trott’s. (Although I expect Trump may not even have his staff read these).

Dear Senator Stabenow:

I would like to thank you for your support of progressive issues over the year. I know with the current make up of the Congress, and the current occupant of the White House you will have to work very hard to preserve that progress.

I write about a more fundamental issue. In a letter to Mr. Trump I spelled out a few things that have me concerned about the health of our governing system. I indicated that:

  • A president must report truthfully to the press. A president must not attack the press for doing their essential job. Tyrants and autocrats casually lie to the press. People hiding their true intentions lie to the press.
  • A president must respect the first amendment. A president must not single out people, or groups of people based on their ethnicity, or religion. A president must respect the rights of people to peaceably assemble.
  • A president president must release tax returns and other documents so that the people can be reassured that the president’s decisions are based on his opinion of what is best for the people and not on what is best for the president.

I’m sure my list of bullets could be extended. I further indicated to Mr. Trump that if he continues to attack the press, to call for registries of citizens based on their religion, to call for further restriction on voting, to try to roll back civil rights, or to try to restrict access to health care, then he will surely hear from me and see me.

I vote, I write letters, I mobilize others, I support financially candidates who share my views, and I will join protests to preserve the Republic and to ensure equal opportunity for its citizens. I hope and expect I can count on the support of my senators in this endeavor.

Yours truly,

Jeff Morford

Letter to Trump (1/22/2017)

Mr. Jeff Morford

Mr. Donald Trump
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW.
Washington DC 20500

Dear Mr. Trump:

We have so many differences of opinion and basic philosophy that it would be hard to enumerate them. Let me focus instead on a few key principles that I think are essential to preserving our democratic republic for future generations.

  • A president must report truthfully to the press. A president must not attack the press for doing their essential job. Tyrants and autocrats casually lie to the press. People hiding their true intentions lie to the press.
  • A president must respect the first amendment. A president must not single out people, or groups of people based on their ethnicity, or religion. A president must respect the rights of people to peaceably assemble.
  • A president president must release tax returns and other documents so that the people can be reassured that the president’s decisions are based on his opinion of what is best for the people and not on what is best for the president.

I’m sure my list of bullets could be extended. However, be aware that if you continue to attack the press, call for registries of citizens based on their religion, call for further restriction on voting, try to roll back civil rights, or try to restrict access to health care, then you will surely hear from me and see me.

I vote, I write letters, I mobilize others, I support financially candidates who share my views, and I will join protests to preserve the Republic and to ensure equal opportunity for its citizens.

Yours truly,

Jeff Morford

Letter to Representative Trott (Sent 1/22/2017)

Mr. Jeff Morford

Representative David Trott
625 E Big Beaver Rd #204
Troy, MI 48083

Dear Mr. Trott:

I am not naïve and I know that with Republicans in control of the presidency and both houses of congress you will pursue the agenda of those whose votes you received. This will often not agree with my views about the best direction of the country. These differences are, however, in some ways trivial compared to the greater risk I now see.

I am disheartened beyond simple policy at some of the ways the Republic is going. While this is not directly your responsibility as a House member, the Senate ignored the constitution in not fulfilling its duty to advise and consent on the filling of a Supreme Court vacancy. Further, we have a president who has already resorted to telling petty, easily disprovable lies. Historically this has been one of the approaches autocrats use discredit a free press. The free press is essential to making sure the government does in fact represent the people and not just the interests of the leader and his inner circle. The president has called for registry of citizens based on religion. This strains, if not outright violates, the religious freedom clause of the Bill of Rights. The president has refused to let the people know what potential conflicts of interest he has. True he cannot legally have a conflict of interest outside of emoluments, but his lack of transparency will lead many to question his every decision.

I would like to try to preserve the democratic republic for my children and theirs. So, the list in the paragraph above worries me greatly.

I guess I write to you knowing that we will have differences in many policies. I hope, however, that we can agree that:

  • The president must report truthfully to the press. The president must stop attacking the press for doing their essential job.
  • The president must respect the first amendment. He must not single out people, or groups of people based on their ethnicity, or religion. He must respect the rights of people to peaceably assemble.
  • The president should release tax returns and other documents so that the people can be reassured that his decisions are based on his opinion of what is best for the people and not on what is best for his companies

I’m sure my list of bullets could be extended. However be aware that if the president, continues to attack the press, if he, or Congress call for registries of citizens based on their religion, if he, or Congress call for further restriction on voting, if he, or Congress try to roll back civil rights, if he, or Congress try (verb agreement corrected 1/23) to restrict access to health care- especially for women, then you will surely hear from me and see me.

I vote, I write letters, I mobilize others, I support financially candidates who share my views, and I will join protests to preserve the Republic and to ensure equal opportunity for its citizens.

Yours truly,

Jeff Morford

An Example for Class

A student asked a question, so I made a real video. I noticed two things. Even after I thought I made clean corrections there were still errors. None seem too horrible though. The other thing I noticed is that math translation is hard. Not only are variables sometimes interpreted as words, numbers are sometimes written as Arabic numerals and sometimes spelled out. I am not sure if there is a way this is supposed to be done. In future videos I will probably try to make it look as much like the equation on the screen as I can.

Auto-captioning does help a little, but correcting Youtube captions did double my production time.

I also am now linking to Youtube instead of directly publishing the videos. That means there are ads after my video plays. Eventually I can save some money by downgrading my WordPress plans to ones that don’t have direct video upload. But, the students pay the cost through the ads.

Captioning

NOT BASEBALL

Google writes that Youtube now auto captions. I’ll probably test that later this weekend. I did want to show what adding auto captions did with an existing video.

A picture of the screen to start auto-captions.

Look for this screen to start your auto captioning.

It sort of got the words right . . .

This shows some of the (semicorrext captioning)

This shows some of the (semicorrext captioning)

I edited some of the captions to show I could. I’m not actually using this in class so I wasn’t very concerned about perfection. I corrected the first minute and 3 seconds in about 5 minutes. I left the rest wrong to give a sense of what needs fixing. Writing a script and recording this video took around 20 minutes. Captioning would take about another 20, although it might get quicker if I learned to speak slower and use the editor more efficiently. It does make the video viewable on a bus for students though.

Turn on captions and enjoy (especially the last 3 minutes).